Disclaimer: I own nothing in this fanfic but the plot, characters and background belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Post-OotP, disregards HBP and DH. Generally compliant with canon but with some differences in plot. Characters can be OOC because this is simply how I envision them to be :P
Warning: This is a creature!fic and slash fic. Pairing SS/LM/DM/HP, multiple mates, nothing graphic but fluffiness in future chapters to come.
Chapter One: Unusual Inheritance
Sirius was dead.
It was all his fault. If he had been more critical of the situation, none of the fiasco at the Department of Mysteries would have happened.
Why did he have to be so impulsive? If only he had thought longer and harder… if only. What good was "if only" when nothing he did now can bring Sirius back? He haven't even learnt much about his godfather, for Merlin's sake, he didn't even had a chance to have alone time with his godfather!
Harry Potter lay on his bed back in Privet Drive, flooded by his guilt that has yet to cease a month after the incident. He had few people to look upon as father figures in life; and with this blunder that cost Sirius' life, he doubted that he could even look at Remus in the face again.
He knew that Remus and Sirius were close friends, not in a sexual manner – he had once suspected but proven wrong –, but they were the last of the Marauders. And to know that the son of James had led to Sirius' end… he didn't know if Remus could take it.
He had tried to blame it on Snape, but he knew that it wasn't the man's fault at all; the man had tried to stop him but he didn't listen anyway. For once, he wished that he had taken Snape's advice but no, he just had to mess it all up.
The thought of the man led to conflicted emotions. On one hand, he hated Snape for belittling him and making his life miserable in class. On the other hand, he understood perfectly why the man had done so – it took little effort to understand the feelings of a bullied victim, after all, he had been one and, in some aspects, still is one.
Merlin, even he himself had hated his father and Sirius for being such a bully in school when he watched the pensive memories! It wasn't just friendly rivalry or pranking, it was utter humiliation. To think that he once admired his father and all…
Yes, that hurt the most. Knowing that his father, the appraised Gryffindor, was nothing but a bully in school, and worse, his father had basked in the glory of it, not knowing how horrible it was to be on the receiving end. Everybody spoke of James Potter as some sort of epitome of Gryffindor, brave and self-sacrificing, humourous and intelligent; why had no one tell him what he was actually like in school?
"A true Gryffindor, eh?" Harry smiled bitterly as he fingered the photo album he had hidden under his bed – he had managed to salvage his stuff before Uncle Vernon attempted to lock it in the cupboard.
Sirius was so much like his father – at least what little he knew of James, fun-loving and energetic, but he couldn't get over his childish rivalry with Snape, even after enduring twelve years in Azkaban. And Remus, he was supposed to be the level-headed one! Of course, he was courteous towards Snape and everyone else, but he did nothing to stop the Sirius from his unfounded hatred.
He had debated the thought of writing a letter of apology to Snape, about his own mistakes over the past five years and on behalf of his father and Sirius. However, knowing the man, he would probably think that it was some prank or joke and sneer at whatever was in the letter. If he wanted to get the message across, he'd probably have to do it personally face-to-face – if his courage didn't falter after seeing the man, that is.
Speaking of letters, his mood inevitably turned dark. He had not received any letters from his friends since the holidays started, well, not counting the one he got from Hermione two days into the holidays stating that they would give him his privacy and time to grief for Sirius. His guess was that Dumbledore had told them that he needed time to himself, and probably, that it was too dangerous to risk their letters being intercepted. At least that was the reason he was told to leave a very unhappy Hedwig with the Weasleys.
Privacy? Harry snorted in disbelief. When had that ever mattered between the three of them? They were best friends, if they aren't supposed to talk and share, what bloody else are they supposed to do?
He was desperate to talk to someone, someone who wouldn't mind listening to him ranting about all these thoughts, someone who could guide him, tell him what was wrong with his life!
He had read all his textbooks in attempt to escape his overwhelming emotions – but it just didn't work! He read those texts so thoroughly he could even remember all those bloody potions ingredients in the encyclopaedia he took from Grimmauld Place in a fit of impulsivity. But once his mind wasn't occupied with those texts, everything simply washed over him.
His nightmares were getting worse – he kept seeing Sirius falling through the veil again and again, the look of complete shock frozen on his face. And he heard voices – his father's, his mother's, Sirius, Cedric, and everyone else – whispering to him, moaning about the unfairness of life, reprimanding him for his role in their deaths.
If only you died. If only you weren't born.
He can still remember the unusual hardness and chill of the tone his father and mother used. It sent him screaming awake, shuddering in fear and weariness, and unfortunately woke everyone else in the house – he kept stubbornly quiet when Uncle Vernon had hit him, but he couldn't stop shuddering when the words Uncle Vernon spewed coincided with his nightmares.
Freak. Unworthy. It was better if you were never here.
He looked at the clock. 11.58 pm. Two minutes to his birthday.
He doubted that his presents would be here. Since Dumbledore deemed it unsafe to send letters, presents and parcels are unlikely to come through as well – even Mrs. Weasley's care package wasn't here.
Well, it wasn't as if there was much to celebrate anyway. His birthday marked the reason for the death of his parents.
As much as he loathed to admit, Sirius' death was a damn strong wake-up call. He was forced to think about a lot of things over the past month: his parents' death, the prophecy, Dumbledore, his friends, Sirius, Remus, the Wizarding World, the Ministry. He wondered just how much information was being kept away from him? The prophecy was surely something that he should have known of, but no, Dumbledore only saw fit to tell him after the whole Ministry debacle. What else had the headmaster kept to himself?
And there was the problem of being a Muggle-raised wizard. Everyone expected him to know things just because he was the Boy-Who-Lived, but how in Merlin's beard was he supposed to know anything at all, when he was no different from a Muggleborn?
The clock struck twelve, and Harry quirked a brow, "Well, Happy Birthday to m- wha…umph!"
It started as a tingling sensation on his back, and escalated quickly from there. He was no stranger to pain, but this was different. It was the familiar feeling of magic coursing through his body, but it was rough and raw, burning through his skin, threatening to tear out of his skin.
He fell to the ground, and desperately tried to muffle his screams by biting on the back of his hand – it would do no good to rouse the Dursleys now.
His ears were on fire; his spine felt as though it was twisting; his back was seared. Magic was running through every inch of his body, and wherever it passed, it left a sensation of rawness, as if his skin had been brutally ripped off and hot water plunged onto exposed flesh.
It was an inferno.
He couldn't even bring himself to scream out loud at this point, the heat and pain consumed his consciousness, and he could only feel. He curled tightly into himself, frantically grabbing his forearms to assure himself that his limbs were still intact.
Am I dying?
When he finally came back into his senses, he glanced at the clock, only to realise that it was only 12.30 am, instead of hours that he had thought it was.
Grabbing onto the bedstand, he pulled himself from the ground, managing to stagger to his bed before his legs gave out. He was sore and aching all over, but his back, especially, was feeling the worst. With a sudden realisation, he found that he could see things clearly when his glasses were left on the floor – probably knocked off when he was writhing in pain.
But before he could contemplate any other changes, there was a tap at the window.
A regal eagle owl stared at him through the window, tapping the glass impatiently as Harry made no move to open the barriers to its delivery.
He staggered a few steps toward the window and finally managed to open it after fumbling with the latch for a few moments. The owl landed on his shoulders and stretched out its feet, looking expectantly at its recipient.
Had his friends managed to send him letters after all?
Harry was confused as he relieved the owl of its duty, turning the fine parchment over, only to see it sealed with the Gringotts seal. Seeing that the owl had no intention of leaving yet, he fished out a few dry crackers from his secret stash and offered it to the owl. With a close examination of the crackers on his palm, it nibbled a few crumbles before leaping off his shoulder to land on the bedstand.
Harry shrugged; it was probably instructed to wait for a reply – whatever the matter was.
Unrolling the parchment and reading swiftly across the lines – the only other fortunate outcome of reading his textbooks and stuff was an improved speed reading skill – Harry quirked a brow as he comprehended the implications of the message.
Lord Harry James Potter-Black (inheritance yet to be confirmed and received),
It has come to our attention that Sirius Black has indicated you as the heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Black in his will, and with the execution of this will, we would also like to draw your attention towards receiving your inheritance from the Ancient and Noble House of Potter.
An inheritance ritual is required to further confirm your eligibility to other fortunes by conquer and magical choice. We seek your attendance with us as soon as possible to settle all matters as stated above. Please reply with a suitable date and time for an appointment.
Potter… Black. Sirius had named him as the Black heir? He didn't… but he didn't deserve it! He hadn't done anything to deserve Sirius' affection, he condemned the man to his death – how could Sirius have…? There weren't any signs or indication at all, that Sirius chose to leave everything with him. But then again, his contact with Sirius was extremely limited, with Sirius cooped up in Grimmauld Place and him trying to survive the hell that was Umbridge at Hogwarts…
Harry sighed deeply. Perhaps it was time for him to try and figure out what was going on around him. He had delayed this long enough, Merlin, he hadn't even realise that he would have to take up the responsibility of Lord Potter alone, not to mention Lord Potter-Black now.
He pulled a piece of blank parchment from under his bed and settled to write a reply. While he pondered about the words to write, he started petting the owl – now perching onto his table beside his inkwell – absentmindedly, earning an affectionate preening from the owl.
"Hey there, would you mind carrying another letter for me to Flourish and Blotts?" He ruffled its feathers gently, "I know your duty was to get a reply from me to Gringotts, but Hedwig isn't here with me now…" His voice faltered.
That was one of the reason he felt especially dreadful this summer. Hedwig was his only friend and talking companion when he was locked up in the room, she couldn't reply back but she could always offer comfort. Sometimes he even felt that she understood his every word perfectly, her soulful eyes staring at him with empathy and affection, perching onto his shoulders and preening his hair when he felt emotionally vulnerable.
A sharp nip to his fingers snapped him out of his thoughts. The owl stared at him disapprovingly, and nipped his fingers again, softer this time, while hooting quietly.
"Is that a yes?" Watching the owl give an affirmative hoot, Harry petted it on its head and gave a small smile, "Then I better start writing now, shouldn't I? Just give me a moment."
Twirling the quill between his fingers, he paused for a few seconds before writing.
May your gold always flow and your enemies suffer in agony.
I would like to set up an appointment on 4th August, preferably in the morning. I would appreciate it if a mode of transportation to Gringotts could be arranged.
I await your response,
Harry James Potter-Black.
He read the letter again and paused – where did that line of greeting come from? He had written it by pure intuition, but it sounded alright. Almost too right.
He shrugged it off again as he pulled yet another piece of blank parchment to pen a note to Flourish and Blotts.
I find myself in need of books on Wizarding etiquette as I am about to assume the position of Family Head. I trust your favourable reputation in the sale of magical books and your judgement of books to best fit customers' needs.
Please send me your recommended books, or list of books, on the requested topic, and I will arrange for the required funds to be handled. Your promptness is most appreciated.
May Her blessings be endowed upon you,
Harry James Potter.
He stared at the finished note – just where did that blessing stemmed from? It was confusing, he had no idea where and when had he encountered it, but it felt almost natural, and most logical. Oh well, it sounded fine, he supposed.
After addressing the recipients onto the sealed scrolls, he tied it gently to the owls' leg. "Bring this to the manager of Flourish and Blotts, and this to Ragnok, would you?"
The owl nipped his fingers once more before taking flight into the night sky, disappearing into the darkness.
Harry kept away his writing equipment tiredly and lay back onto his bed; it was a hell of a night. Picking up the mirror that Sirius gave to him but never had a chance to use; he stared at his reflection in utter shock.
His face was the same alright, although his facial features seemed to be finer than it usually was – or was that an effect of him losing his appetite? But his ears were slightly elongated and pointed, and his eyes had an almost ethereal glow to it, and his hair, now that he had realised it, grew beyond his shoulders, ending just beneath his lower back.
He jumped to his feet, almost forgetting the soreness of his muscles until he grimaced with the movement, and stared at the mirror in his room. It seemed as though there wasn't a change in height – was a little growth spurt too much to hope for now? – but there was a slight difference in his complexion, his skin looks a little fairer now, which incidentally seem to make his bruises and scars stand out.
Curious about the burning sensation on his back earlier, he pulled off his oversized T-shirt as he turned to look at his back in the mirror.
A tattoo. A bloody tattoo?
The tattoo extended from his shoulder bones down to his hips, spanning across his entire back, filling it with green markings joined with golden swirls. It looked like twigs entwined, like flames blazing, like a river flowing, as if it was fluid and changing.
What was this? Nobody talked about transforming and growing tattoos on their sixteenth birthday! Or was this some sort of joke?
Sifting through all information he had read from his textbooks and a few other books he had taken from Grimmauld Place, and after a few internal struggles, he came to a belated conclusion that he probably had some sort of dormant elf blood in his family, but so little was known about elves! And why wasn't he told that he had elf blood somewhere inside of him?
Calm down, Harry. Think, what to do now? I can't let the Dursleys see this…
He dug out a book on charms and desperately hoped that he wouldn't be tried again for using underage magic… He would come up with an excuse when it comes to that; he just needed to find that glamour charm he had seen a few days before right now.
Flipping through the pages quickly, he found the desired charm and studied it for a while. Grabbing his wand, he practiced the wand movements a few times, before quietly muttering the incantation while picturing what he used to look like – not that it was that difficult.
What caught him by surprise was the swiftness and readiness that his magic had responded to his wishes, he could almost feel the magic surging from his core eagerly to meet his needs, channelling through his wand smoothly – it usually required a little push or force before – it felt so soothing.
Feeling the magic settle on his face and back, he anxiously turned to look at the mirror, satisfied to find his old self looking back rather meekly.
He stashed all his items back under his bed as he awaited the dreaded letter from the Ministry – until he realised that no letters were coming after two hours of sitting stoically on his bed. Reclining back, he sighed and decided to leave it as that.
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